Ombudsman wins 2 more cases vs. DPWH officials over P7.8M vehicle repair scam
03 January 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has obtained two more convictions against seven officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), including three private individuals involved in the P7.8 million “ghost” repairs and purchases of spare parts for the agency’s service vehicles undertaken in 2001.
The Sandiganbayan found DPWH Director III Burt Favorito, Officer-in-Charge Assistant Director Florendo Arias, Chief Maximo Borje, Equipment Inspector Rolando Castillo, Chief Erdito Quarto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents and two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019). Meantime, Officer-in-Charge Nelson Umali and Storekeeper Felipe San Jose were also convicted of one count each for Estafa and graft. Also convicted were representatives from the car repair shops Janette Bugayong of GK & J Auto Repairs, Augusto Capuz of BIZTRADE and Vicente Santos of VIC-SAN Motorworks. The accused were sentenced to suffer six to 10 years of imprisonment for each count of graft and 10 to 20 years for each count of Estafa.
The accused were ordered to indemnify the government with a total amount of P7,866,631.00 as civil liability The DPWH employees were also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of civil service eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Ombudsman prosecutors proved during the trial that the accused connived with each other to facilitate and effect reimbursements amounting to P7,866,631.00 over “ghost” vehicle repairs and purchases of spare parts by committing fraudulent schemes such as: repetitive procurement of spare parts; splitting of job orders; excessive costs of repairs; and false claims of emergency repairs. Even a vehicle involved in an accident was falsely reported as repaired, and vehicles with rehabilitations allotments were subjected to emergency repairs – all in violation of existing DPWH and Commission on Audit policies. Prosecutors presented evidence to show that Favorito, et. al. fraudulently claimed that 192 vehicles were repaired with 1,052 disbursement vouchers issued from March to December 2001.
With several irregularities established by the prosecution and “considering that there were never any repairs done on the subject vehicle, the facts narrated by the accused are absolutely false,” the anti-graft court said.
“Since the only reason for the reimbursements made was to steal money from government coffers, and not to allocate them for the repair of the vehicle in question, it is clear that the intention of the accused was to injure the government,” explained the Decision. ###